Many school districts across the country are struggling to find enough lunchroom staff to serve meals to students. As a result, some school districts are hiring students to help fill the gap. While some people think student-employment programs are a great idea, there are solutions that don't require outsourcing labor to students—keep reading to find out more.

Staffing Shortages

According to a report from the School Nutrition Association, nearly half of school districts across the country are struggling to find enough lunchroom staff to serve meals to students.

The report cites several reasons for the shortage, including low wages, high turnover, and a lack of benefits. As a result, many districts have turned to students as a labor lifeline.

Student-Employment Programs

NBC News recently reported on Kershaw County School District in South Carolina, which opened its non-teaching positions to students. Students apply like any adult applicant and are hired at a starting wage of $12.24, the same rate offered to adults with no previous experience. These student workers help chop vegetables, prepare fruit, and assemble meals for lunch.

Proponents of student-employment programs say that there are a few potential benefits of having students serve lunch in the cafeteria. First, it could teach them important life skills such as time management, teamwork, and customer service. Additionally, it could give students a sense of pride and responsibility in their school community. They also suggest that it could help students develop positive relationships with adults outside of their families.

On the other hand, some education advocates are concerned that the method would threaten to undermine schools' objectives and may not be beneficial to students' career development.


While student-employment programs have proven to be a win-win solution for some schools, there are other options for solving the staffing shortages as well, like Ordo.

Ordo is a K-12 school lunch marketplace that partners with local restaurants, caterers, and chefs to provide delicious, homestyle school lunches for students across the nation. Our team works with schools to provide a rotating menu that all students can enjoy, regardless of allergies or sensitivities.

The best part is that Ordo can handle all of the stress of managing your school lunch program. With Ordo, you never have to worry about staffing your cafeteria's kitchen again!